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For many years, I didn’t like lure fishing. I tried it every now and then, just to see if I could make it work, but had very little success, other than a few Pike when I was river fishing back in the UK.
But now lure fishing is one of my main fishing methods, and certainly the one I spend the most time doing.
Once you understand the fundamentals of fishing with lures and soft plastics, and you start to catch fish on them, it changes your perspective very quickly.
I find that lure fishing gives you much ability to cover a wider area of water by moving around and finding where the fish are, rather than waiting for them to find your bait.
You can quickly and easily change up your lures until you find one that the fish like on the day.
Before we get into the tips to help you catch more fish on lures and soft plastics, I just want to cover a few of the different types of fishing lures to help better understand what each type does.
If you already know the different types of lures available and want to get straight into the tips, then just use the navigation links below:
Table of Contents
- Different types of fishing lures
- Tip 1 – Cast in an arc to cover more area
- Tip 2 – Try a variety of lures
- Tip 3 – Vary your retrieve
- Tip 4 – Vary the depth you fish at
- Tip 5 – Use the right gear
Different types of fishing lures
Soft plastics are my personal favorites to use when lure fishing. The quality of the latest soft plastic lures is incredible, they are so life-like now and I find them to be very effective for a wide variety of fish.
Most soft plastic lures do not have a hook built into the design.
Usually, you would use what is called a jig head hook, with is basically a hook with a weighted head on it. You then feed the hook through the soft plastic and you now have the weight to take the lure to the bottom and allow you to create the action with the lure you want to attract the fish.
Due to the soft nature of soft plastic lures, the action you get on them is very realistic. You can also add scent to the lures, which will also help encourage the fish to bite once they get a whiff of the lure.
There are many different designs for soft plastic lures too, so you can find them for all types of fish.
Blades and vibes
Although Vibe and Blade lures have been around for quite some time, it is only in the last few years that they have become one of the most popular types of hard lures to use.
They are very versatile in the fish they attract, and they are easy to work too. Although the style of Blades and Vibes can be a little different, the way in which they are used is very similar, which is why they are often put together in the same bracket.
The narrower profile of these lures allows them to track true through the water, and their specific designs will also provide good action when the lure is being retrieved, you can feel them vibrating when you are winding them in.
Some vibe lures even have internal beads that rattle, so fish nearby can hear them when they are moving through the water.
Another popular and extremely versatile lure is the hard body lure. These can be used to fish varying depths, from the surface down to deeper depths.
Any hard body lure that is designed to be retrieved under the water will have what is called a bib attached to the front of it.
The bib is usually a clear piece of plastic that is angled slightly downwards, and this helps the lure to dive on retrieval. The bigger the bib, the deeper the lure will dive when being wound in.
You can also get a variety of hard body lures that are designed to stay on the surface.
They will not have the bib on them, and some will have a flatter front side to them, so when they are being retrieved they create a commotion on the surface, which will attract predatory fish.
There are many different shapes and sizes when it comes to hard body lures, and you really should try and understand the difference in these lures before you start using them, to ensure you are optimizing your efforts and presenting the right lure at the right depth in your fishing location.
Metal spinning lures
Metal spinning lures are one of the original types of fishing lures, and they are still around today simple because they still work!
You can usually buy metal spinning lures very cheaply, and it is always good to have a few in your tackle box to try if nothing else is working.
The nature of these lures means they are very easy to use, and can be cast long distances too. As they are metal, they will obviously sink, and they will require a fairly fast retrieve to keep them off the bottom, so they are a good option to use if you are targeting fast swimming predatory fish.
Now you have a better understanding of the different types of fishing lures available, let’s get into the tips so you can start catching more fish when using lures.
Read – Related article: What are the best lures for saltwater fishing?
Tip 1 – Cast in an arc to cover more area
One of the main benefits of lure fishing is that it is you can go in search of the fish, and when you have found them you can focus more on that specific area.
If you are fishing from the shore, then it is a good idea to cast around in an arc from where you are standing. What I do is I start by casting out to the left of me, and I will try a few cast and retrieves in the same spot.
Then if nothing, I will start casting in a different spot slightly to the right of the previous area and keep doing this until the last cast is out to the right of you, and you have completed the arc.
If you do not get any takes after several casts in each spot of the arc, you can then move further up the shoreline or jetty wall.
I usually walk about 25 meters from the last spot, and then do the same again, casting in an arc to cover all the areas within reach of where you are standing.
Of course, if you hook into a fish in a certain place, then you can try a few more casts in the same spot to see if you have located a shoal of fish.
But when lure fishing, you have that ability to move quickly, so use this to find those fish!
Tip 2 – Try a variety of lures
This one is really important! One BIG mistake that many people that fish with lures make is that they have a good session catching a few fish on a particular type of lure, and this then becomes their go-to favorite, and they seem reluctant to try anything else on future fishing trips.
Fish change their feeding habits daily. So don’t think what worked one day, will definitely work the next, as this simply isn’t the case.
You need to give them what they want each and every time, and you won’t know what this is until you try a few different lures each time you go out fishing.
As far as the color of the lure goes, the general rule of thumb says that when the water is murkier, then a darker color is better, and when it is clearer use a more natural, even a transparent color.
While this may seem odd to us, it is actually easier for a fish to see a darker color in murkier water, as it provides a much stronger silhouette than a brighter color would.
But as mentioned, this is just a general rule of thumb and not a hard and fast rule that you absolutely must stick to!
Try all different colors, don’t be afraid to go against the grain if you have tried a variety of lures already and they are just not producing bites.
Matching the hatch is always a good way to determine what lure to use on any given day as well.
If you see a lot of baitfish around, try and find a lure that best matches these baitfish, as you can be sure that the bigger predators will be going for them.
Tip 3 – Vary your retrieve
This of course it relevant to cast and retrieve fishing with lures. Again, this is a very important tip that you should always use when lure fishing.
Some days the fish may be more active, and you will be better off using a faster retrieve. This may entice the fish into an aggressive attack when they see the lure flash by them and can be a lot of fun when they smash the lure this way!
But other days the fish may be a lot more lethargic are you need to respond in kind.
You can do this by using a much slower retrieve. This is often effective in the colder winter months when some fish just do not react as quickly as they do when the water is warmer in the summer.
So when you start throwing your lures out, try a few casts with a faster retrieve, and if no bites come from this, slow the retrieve down a bit. Keep doing this until you start getting takes, it is all about finding that sweet spot on the day.
Tip 4 – Vary the depth you fish at
Some days you may find the fish feeding on the bottom, some days they could be feeding on the surface, and other days somewhere in-between!
So it makes sense to try all different depths in order to find the fish. Lure fishing is very much prospective, you keep trying different things until you find where they are and how they want to feed that day.
To fish closer to the bottom you can use a soft plastic with a heavier jig head, and then slowly roll it across the bottom on your retrieve.
If you want to go a medium depth, you can try using a hard body with a medium-size bib, or a soft plastic with a lighter jig head and speed up the retrieve.
Then you can also try on the surface by using one of the different types of surface lures such as poppers or surface stick baits.
Fishing surface lures can be great fun too! Actually seeing the fish smash the lure on the surface is very exciting, it gets the adrenaline pumping every time!
Tip 5 – Use the right gear
Using the right gear is going to improve your chances of catching more fish on lures, no doubt about it. Yes, if you are just starting out them a generic combo rod and reel can do the job, and will allow you to catch fish on lures.
But to optimize your chances, get the right gear as soon as you are able to!
The three main things you need to decide on when choosing the best fishing gear for lure fishing are:
Rod: Let’s start with the rod. When you are lure fishing, it is all about feel. You want to have a rod that is both sensitive and responsive. You also want to get yourself a fishing rod that is light.
If you are going to be flicking lures around for hours on end, then the lighter your equipment, the less fatigued you will get as the hours go by. You will certainly feel fatigued if you are using heavier gear, and this will have a negative impact on your fishing ability.
If you are light-spinning from the shore, then you can use a much lighter setup.
You can go as light as a 1-2kg rod, or a 2-4kg if you may hook into a few bigger fish (these weights are a rating that pertains to the suggested breaking strain of line you should use with them)
If you are going to be fishing from a boat, or just targeting bigger fish, then the rod needs to reflect this, and coincide with the breaking strain of the line you will use.
Reel: When it comes to using lures, you should use either a spinning reel or a baitcaster reel. Baitcaster reels are not an ideal option for a beginner, so unless you have some experience in fishing then stick to a spinning reel.
Spinning reels will come in a variety of sizes, and you should again match this up to the size of fish, or species of fish you want to catch.
The smallest sizes are the 1000 models, and you would match this up with a very light line (usually 1-2kg, or approximately 2-4lbs).
For lighter spinning, it would be best to get anything from a 1000 model for the very lightest of spinning, up to a 3000 or even 4000. If you are going for much larger species off a boat, then you can get much larger spinning reels to suit this purpose.
Check out some of the best Shimano spinning reels here →
Check out some of the best Daiwa spinning reels here →
Line: Using the right line is just as important as getting the right rod and reel. Not only do you need to determine the right breaking strain of the line, but you also need to decide whether you use braid or mono.
A lot of anglers that fish with lures prefer to use braid line, and I myself also prefer this. The reason is that mono line has some stretch in it, so it not as responsive as braid.
Braid line does not have any stretch in it, so you can literally feel every single tap on your lure from a fish, and it allows you to respond to any bites that much quicker.
If you use braided line, then you should always use a mono leader, so the fish cannot see the line.
Braid tends to be a lighter color and is easier for the fish to see. So by using a length of mono leader, you make the attachment to the lure invisible to the fish again.
The breaking strain of the line should be relevant to the rod and reel you are using.
So, if you want to go ultralight for example, then you would use a 1-2kg rod, with a 1000 size spinning reel, and then the best-suited line would be 1-2kg (2-4lbs).
Next size up would be a 2-4kg rod, with a 2000 or 2500 size reel, and the line would be anywhere from 2-4kg (approximately 4-8lbs).
Enjoy your lure fishing
Lure fishing is a great way to catch all kinds of different fish. If you are just starting out, or you simply want to catch more fish on lures just follow the tips above and it will certainly help you improve.
If you have any questions about lure fishing please leave them in the comment box below, and I will answer them as soon as I can.
Im new to this and have spent a small fortune setting up. i have been fishing a fair bit with no luck. both fresh water and also salt water. How do i work out what lure to use for the right conditions?
Hi Marc, you really need to test different lures and retrieve techniques. First of all, go through the 5 tips i mentioned in this article and make sure you try all of these each time you go out. When you are at your fishing spot, look for shoals of baitfish and then try and match your lure to these baitfish as closely as possible. If you are able to scoop a few baitfish out of the water with a net, this will give you a closer look at the size and color of the fish that the predators will be going for. Also, try different times of the day, and look at tide times also. Sunrise and sunset are usually very productive times of the day to fish, and a couple of hours each side of the change in tides is also a good time to fish. Make sure you cover a wide area with your casts as well. Good luck, let me know how you go.
I’ve been fishing my whole life and never caught a single fish with a lure. Fuck this shit
Keep trying Joe, it will happen